Etihad Rail announces $542mn finance deal with First Abu Dhabi Bank to develop passenger services

With the launch of the new service, passenger trains will strengthen connectivity between the UAE by linking 11 cities and locations in the country from Al Sila to Fujairah

Etihad Rail has inked a financing agreement worth $542m for passenger transport services with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). The passenger services will be the first of its kind connecting the cities and regions of the UAE, Etihad Rail said.

According to a statement, the agreement is part of the UAE National Railways Programme, wherein First Abu Dhabi Bank will be the Certified Lead Arranger for the loan, as part of the agreement. The deal was signed by Etihad Rail CEO Engineer Shadi Malak and Hana Al Rostamani, group CEO at First Abu Dhabi Bank in the presence of Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and chairman of Etihad Rail and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Saif bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, vice chairman of FAB’s Board of Directors.

With the launch of the new service, passenger trains will strengthen connectivity between the UAE by linking 11 cities and locations in the country from Al Sila to Fujairah. Travelling at a speed of 200km/h, with a capacity of 400 passengers per train, the number of passengers is expected to increase to reach more than 36.5m passengers annually across the country by 2030.

Passengers will be able to commute between Abu Dhabi to Dubai in only 50 minutes, between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah in only 100 minutes, between Dubai and Fujairah in only 50 minutes, and between Abu Dhabi and Al Ruwais in only 70 minutes, the firm said.

“With this, we at Etihad Rail look forward to enhancing cooperation, uniting efforts, and working together towards realising the vision of the UAE in accordance with the goals of the UAE National Railways Programme, which was launched under the Projects of the 50 to establish the basis for a new stage of sustainable economic growth for the country,” said Sheikh Theyab.

Sheikh Mohamed added, “As we look to the next 50 years of our nation’s journey, the UAE continues to lead the region in setting a bold and progressive vision for the future. FAB is integral to that journey and committed to driving economic growth and improving the quality of life for citizens and residents. Through our support for the Etihad Rail project, we are reinforcing the UAE’s position as a global and regional transport and logistics hub, leveraging our strategic geographic location to improve and reinforce our links with the rest of the world.”

Malak said through this agreement Etihad Rail will move ahead with its mission to provide passenger railway services, which will bolster public transport system in the UAE and the wider region.

First Abu Dhabi Bank group CEO Hana Al Rostamani said, “Etihad Rail is proof of the sense of vision and purpose that makes the UAE distinct. By connecting the UAE through a fully integrated rail network, Etihad Rail will bring significant economic and social benefits to the businesses and communities it serves, empowering future growth and providing opportunities for all. FAB is proud to support Etihad Rail in fulfilling this important project which will drive forward economic development for our nation.”

Etihad Rail said it is forging ahead towards completing Stage Two of the UAE National Rail Network. Stage One of the Network has been operational since 2016. The project is progressing at an accelerated pace with 70% of the project being completed in less than 24 months, despite the challenges of the pandemic, the statement concluded.


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